Silent Alma

typed for your pleasure on 13 January 2006, at 6.21 pm

Sdtrk: ‘The march of pure mathematical evil that ends and results in war’ by Add N to (X)

When filmmaker Allison De Fren stopped round round last Summer to shoot her documentary, she had asked me if I knew of any other people throughout history who also formed relationships with Synthetik partners. One of the only two I could think of off the top of my head was Oskar Kokoschka, a Viennese Expressionist painter from the beginning of the 20th Century. He had had an intense three-year relationship with Alma Mahler, who was his model, his muse, and his lover. Unfortunately, things got a wee bit too intense for Alma, and the affair ended; however, he was still obsessed with her. Later Kokoschka learned that she was not only seeing someone new, but also that she had aborted what was thought to be his child. Kokoschka then went to serve as a lieutenant during WWI, where he received a bayonet wound, and was captured behind enemy lines.

By 1918, Kokoschka was living in Dresden after recovering physically and mentally from the war, but he still found himself obsessed with Alma. He then contacted dollmaker Hermine Moos to assemble a life-sized and anatomically-correct replica of his former lover, in order to fill the void in his heart. After several months of correspondence, during which he sent copious notes, paintings and sketches as to how the Alma-Puppe was to look, Moos finished the Doll about a year later.


Alma-puppe, with her creator Hermine Moos (right)

The packing-case arrived. Kokoschka writes: “In a state of feverish anticipation, like Orpheus calling Eurydice back from the Underworld, I freed the effigy of Alma Mahler from its packing. As I lifted it into the light of day, the image of her I had preserved in my memory stirred into life. “He got his servant to spread rumours about the doll, to give the public impression that she was a real woman: “for example, that I had hired a horse and carriage to take her out on sunny days, and rented a box for her at the Opera in order to show her off”.
quoted from this site

Despite Kokoschka’s initial excitement, apparently Moos’ replica left him sexually unsatisfied, so the Alma-Puppe was simply employed as a life-model, which garnered him some thirty pen-and-ink drawings.
Unfortunately, the Alma-Puppe met with a tragic fate, as one evening, at a party that Kokoschka held in his studio,

I gave a big champagne Party with chamber music, during which my maid Hulda exhibited the doll in all its beautiful clothes for the last time. When dawn broke – I was quite drunk, as was everyone else – I beheaded it out in the garden and broke a bottle-of red wine over its head.

A sad end to a life too short..

I have to say that in researching Alma-Puppe’s brief existence, I’ve found most of my info from two sources; the one linked above, and a couple of pages on a site dealing with Alma Mahler, and sometimes the information proved to be contradictory. One states that Kokoschka wilfully had the rumours and stories spread of his attending the opera with Alma-Puppe, whereas the other site states that his housemaid Hulda started them, being a scurrilous (and possibly jealous) gossip. So one’s really left to draw their own conclusions.. At the very least, it can’t be denied that Alma-Puppe inspired Kokoschka on some level. It almost goes without saying that if I had a TARDIS, Sidore-chan and I would have to pay the pair a visit during their happier days..
Sometime in the near-future, I’ll do a write-up on the Other iDollator from ages past, Hans Bellmer..

On a completely unrelated note, this is Post Number 275. Happy Friday the 13th!

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Any Synthetiks-related news, Davecat? (Dec 2006) on December 12th, 2006

Stars in their Eyes, Part II on August 5th, 2005

3 have spoken to “Silent Alma”

  1. PBShelley writes:

    Happy 275th!

    Man, that sounds OLD… 😀

    Fascinating story on Oscar, I’m hoping that the next one turns out happier. Of course, given the over-hysterical reactions by the “common folk”, it’s no wonder, I suppose. That, and jealousy LOL

    Someday…

    PBS & Lily

  2. Davecat writes:

    Yeah, I know; Shi-chan and I are crossing our fingers that it’ll be someday in our lifetime as well…

    And 275 posts! Onward and outward! Much like a supernova! Wait, no good can become of that… hmm.

    Regards and kisses to you and your lurvely missus!

  3. obsessed with alma « gimcrack hospital (PG) writes:

    […] Jewish Alma who attracted stalker-like attention was Alma Mahler. When her love affair with artist Oskar Kokoschka ended, he remained obsessed with […]

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